The Journalists on Fashion

Fashion

 

1. Hold a Discussion on:

— What do you understand by fashion?

— Is fashion innate or is it something in which we follow others?

— Is it to do only with models/film stars, or do you think every human being can have a sense of fashion?

— Community sense of fashion- bandwallah, coolie—this kind of fashion helps us understand who they are

— Rahul’s keeping long hair—was it anything to do with his life journeys at the moment? Eg. Playing in a band? Writing poetry?

  • Fashion as expressive of self, character
  • Fashion as it has evolved over the years eg In the movie Om shanti Om, the use of tight chooridars, men’s flared trousers, sideburns etc to evoke a bygone age.

Was fashion a movement?

Salman spoke about how fashion for him meant good clothes and walking on the ramp.

 

The participants spoke about torn pants, stylish clothes, black bangles and long hair, which were the stereotypes of fashion.

 

Tulu felt poor people “do” a lot of fashion these days (wear fancy clothes).

 

The difference between fashion and uniforms were discussed. Were the coolies of Sealdah and their dress code an uniform? Salman thought it was an identity.

 

Rahul’s long hair: was it a statement of some kind? Rahul said he was with a band and it was important that he had the look of a band member which meant long hair and black bangls and the other stereotypes. Got scolded by his family and led to a lot of flak from his peers. He finally cut it off and surprised everyone.

 

So who were the people who did this fashion or were fashionable?

 

The participants felt fashion was limited to models, media personalities, celebrities and dancers.

 

Was fashion only for some people?

 

We learn from fashion–this was the general opinion. When asked if we can create our own fashion, Rahul pointed out that our views of fashion come from watching celebrities and if we tried something on our own we would be laughed at. Only when we see the other celebs doing that do we accept it as fashion. Jyotsna on the other hand thought we create our own fashion.

 

Fashionable clothes make on feel good about oneself. Sometime we gauge a person’s character simply by seeing what he or she is wearing.

 

Fashion depends on trends, media, weather, geographical location and time.

The participants were next asked to write an assignment taking stereotypical images and people and writing about fashion as seen in their para.

 

 

NB: They said, they are only taking interviews. When would they be interviewed in turn?

 

What some of them came up with:

 

Tulu

 

Fashion can mean a lot of things, like hair, clothes, shoes, accessories like watches and glasses. Fashion used to be the prerogative of the rich, nowadays I see the poor beggars also with a sense of fashion. Everyone likes fashion, it is part of the desire to look good. Some people dress up according to their own tastes, some copy others. I had heard that girls were more fashion-conscious, then I saw boys do the same, nowadays even the “chhakkas” (eunuchs) ‘do’ a lot of fashion.

 

Pinky

 

Her name is Kajol Adhikary. Kajol is dark-skinned, plump and tall, 18 years old. Kajol is like herself, she doesn’t resemble anyone else in the family.

Kajol wears a red nighty every afternoon when she is at home. She likes to dress up others but doesn’t like dressing up herself. In the evening she wears a churidar, ties her hair into a bun and wears earrings. Otherwise when she goes out formally she likes putting on big earrings, a small bindi, a small locket, and keeps her hair open. When she goes out, she doesn’t like to have anything other than Rs.3 worth fuchkas, Rs.2 worth ghughni and walks home crunching peanuts worth Re.1/-. Kajol doesn’t like going to her native place in the villages; but she likes the soil there. There she gets to take baths in the pond, whereas here in the city she uses up four buckets of water every time. Here she has to set the alarm to wake up, there the cock crowing in the early morning wakes her up. She has studied upto class 6. She doesn’t want to study any more, nor can her parents afford to send her to school anymore since her father is blind and her mother is a domestic help.

 

 

Day 13: Fashion

Day12

26 May 2008

6-8 pm

Bowbazar

Fashion

 

1. Hold a Discussion on:

 

— What do you understand by fashion?

— Is fashion innate or is it something in which we follow others?

— Is it to do only with models/film stars, or do you think every human being can have a sense of fashion?

— Community sense of fashion- bandwallah, coolie—this kind of fashion helps us understand who they are

— Rahul’s keeping long hair—was it anything to do with his life journeys at the moment? Eg. Playing in a band? Writing poetry?

 

  • Fashion as expressive of self, character
  • Fashion as it has evolved over the years eg In the movie Om shanti Om, the use of tight chooridars, men’s flared trousers, sideburns etc to evoke a bygone age.

 

2. List the different kinds of people in bowbazaar—

Gold sellers

Sex workers

Police

Bandwallahs

Medical persons (doctor, nurse, ayah)

College goers

Hotelwallahs

Rickshaw wallahs

Street food sellers

Office goers

Goondas

 

From the above, choose 3 categories—

 

— What are their stereotypical images?

— What are they in reality?

 

Research people whose dress sense you find is very much expressive of their selves, be it raditional or modern, but very distinctive/eye catching. It may be staid or very whacky or very aesthetically pleasing.

 

 

Street Food narratives

Street food

 

Pinky

 

Robinda sells fries (telebhaja). He used to live in Bihar. He came to Kolkata with his father. He learnt to make telebhaja from his uncle. Two boys help him out; in his absence they make the brinjal fries and potato chops. When Robinda asks me how his food tastes, I opine that the brinjal fries are not that good, but the chops have come out very well. Robinda does not mind; he says that he has made the chops while the brinjal fries have probably been made by his helpers. He has two sons and one daughter who live in his native home in the village. His earnings are sufficient for him to run his household expenses. Robinda is willing to teach the ropes of his trade to a person who is starting out.

 

Tulu

(Interviewee talks in the first person here)

My name is Paresh Shau. I hail from Bihar. I am running this stall for the last 4 years. Learnt how to manage this business from my dad. On coming to the city, dad had not found any other work, so he started a tea stall. After his passing away, I have inherited this. Through practice, I have gained expertise in the art of making tea. The “speciality” of the tea leaves that I use makes my tea special.

(When Tulu asked Paresh what advice he has for a person who is new in the business, Paresh probably did not get the question, since he replied with just a “thank you”).

 

Robi

 

The owner of the teashop during the interview recalled how the first time he made tea, the tea leaves were too much, making it bitter. Gradually he learnt to perfect the art. He also sells biscuits.

 

Jyotsna

 

She interviewed Sanjoy Das who runs a chowmein shop. He has been in this business for 10 years. Started off as a cleaner in another place. After learning all that he had to, he opened his own little street food joint.

 

Rahul

 

Interviewed Biswanath, a Kachori seller who sells kachoris near Sealdah station. Learnt it from his older brother. He left after marriage from when he had to do everything on his own. His speciality are kachoris made from cholar daal which have a reddish tinge and an unique flavour and customers like that.